Have you been experiencing itching, rashes or hives since changing your diet? Have you had no luck in identifying an allergen or trigger despite elimination diets and eating clean? If you have recently switched to a low carb diet, it is very possible that you are experiencing an allergic reaction, though you might not be allergic to individual items, it might be a little more complicated than that.
Something I recently discovered, which surprised me, is that people can be histamine intolerant. Many people aren't aware that histamine is present on all our food, even the fresh, natural produce and meat you buy from your local supermarket. Not only can ingredients contain histamine, but some liberate histamine already present in the body.
Histamine is a compound that is produced by our bodies as well as by the bacteria that grows on our food as it ages. It is released when there is inflammation or an allergen introduced to the body. It has healing properties, but some people are sensitive to it. Anybody who has ever suffered from seasonal allergies will know what that feels like.
Histamine And Low Carb Diets
I have very recently discovered that histamine issues are quite likely to arise when people switch to a low carb diet. The reason being that people who switch to the low carb way of life will tend to introduce many high histamine foods into their diet without realising it. The problem is that a small fraction of us probably lack the enzymes (DAO) needed to manage and eliminate histamine build-up in the body. This isn't a problem for most people, our bodies are designed to produce and eliminate histamine on a daily basis, but for some of us this just isn't happening correctly.
Foods that we are encouraged to eat for gut health, like probiotics and fermented foods are extremely high in histamine. As are many fruit and vegetables. Meat and fish produce histamine at a very high rate as the meats age after slaughter, sometimes being stored for weeks before they arrive in our homes.
Tinned fish and vegetables are super convenient for those of us who no longer rely on quick sandwiches, but tinned food is aged and high in histamine. And if you're trying to increase your fat intake like I did when trying to reach ketosis, then you're probably going to be snacking on salami, avocados, cheese, nuts, seeds - all of which are high in histamine too!
As you can already see, making the switch to low carb is going to be tough for somebody who is histamine intolerant. The problem is that most people are unaware of the condition and many won't know they have an issue with histamine elimination until symptoms appear. The good thing is that you can reduce the histamine levels in your body and help your body to manage histamine better, if you know what to do and are prepared.
My Histamine Story
The month I first started the ketogenic diet in order to reduce my symptoms of ME/CFS was the month I also started itching. I initially suspected the "keto rash" which I looked into and eventually realised wasn't my problem. You can read about that investigation and how you can check if you have keto rash here.
I went through a few months of itching before somebody mentioned histamine intolerance. I had never heard of it, but they said my symptoms sounded similar to what they had experienced.
My journey started with itching, no rashes, no visible signs at all on my skin, just itching all over my body. It gradually increased in intensity and eventually a patch appeared on my one leg. Just a small area of red bumpy skin which doctors told me was eczema. It was super itchy and slowly increased in size over a couple of months despite using cortisone creams and antihistamines prescribed by my doctor.
My first big scare came when I was sitting by the window with my legs in the sun and suddenly my whole body started burning up and turning red. Not only that, but I had a burning itch all over my entire body, like every pore had just excreted acid and it was stinging and itching all at once.
I stripped down and hopped in a cold bath where I stayed for over an hour before it calmed down. My sister ran to the shops to get me some antihistamines while I was in there.
This happened a couple of times over the next few weeks. It seemed to be triggered by heat. Not only would I get these red rashes and the burning itch, but my joints would swell and burn up too. My knees, elbows and knuckles mainly. Ice packs and cold wet towels on my skin help to bring things back to normal.
Eventually the hives came on and just didn't go away anymore. I'd wake up with them every day and they'd flare up terribly after every meal. Evenings were bad, the itching was becoming unbearable, it was keeping me up at night.
Then the red spots that had started out on my lower legs and then upper arms, spread all over my whole body until only my face was free of these itchy, red bumps. It eventually got so bad that the hives were just constantly flaring for days on end, without any relief. My legs were so bumpy and itchy, I couldn't stop scratching, I couldn't sit still, I couldn't rest.
I'd describe the constant itch as mosquito bites on sunburn and then, when the hives flared after a meal, it was like being stabbed by thousands of needles all over my body and the itching became more intense too. I was in tears of frustration on more than one occasion!
Not only was the itching driving me to desperation, but I had been scratching so much that my arms were aching and I was exhausted. Having ME/CFS means that any exertion, even scratching myself, causes an increase in all my other symptoms too. This allergic reaction was draining me of the very little energy I had. I'd wake up with cramps in my hands from scratching at night and sometimes simply from itching so much. My legs were bruised all over and it was starting to hurt.
How I Got Rid Of The Hives And Rashes
I have joined many support groups online and read as much as I can in my condition, a low histamine diet has helped a little initially, but the only thing that has stopped the hives completely has been a combination of fasting and antihistamines.
I was initially on Fexofenadine, but when this was no longer making a difference and my condition was only getting worse, my doctor prescribed Ranitidine to take alongside the Fexofenadine.
At this point the hives had become constant and the rash had moved onto my face. I had red bumpy skin under my eyes and on my cheeks and the area below my eyes was swollen, burning up and very itchy! I spoke to my doctor again and she substituted the Fexofenadine, giving me Atarax instead. At this point I was hardly functioning anymore, scratching was taking up all my energy and I couldn't even think properly anymore. The itch was consuming and I was utterly exhausted.
Somebody suggested fasting for a few days and although I had read that some people flared even more with fasting, I thought it was worth a try if it could possibly help. I initially thought I'd fast for 48 hours, but after 24 hours I was already feeling relief, so I ate a meal and then fasted for another day. After three days of fasting like this, eating only one meal after a 23 hour fast, the hives were gone!
I have been eating one meal a day (OMAD) since the first of September, so it's been 18 days now, and although I'm still itching, it is way less intense and I can function again. No sign of hives since, except when I bath. I'm not sure if it's to do with the water temperature or chemicals in the soap or shampoo, or even if its simply because of the extra exertion, but the only time I get hives now is when I bathe.
Even the red spots I have all over my body are no longer inflamed, raised and burning, but are calming down and starting to disappear.
I have started having a small snack in the evenings, mainly meat and fat,with thyme, no vegetables. So far so good. I also introduced apples and sweet potatoes into my diet when I started the OMAD because they contain things that help to reduce histamine levels in the body. This does mean that I'm likely out of ketosis again, but it's helping my body with the histamine overload, so I'm okay with that.
The Histamine Basin
A great way to look at histamine in the body is to imagine your body as a basin. All basins should have an overflow drain so that if the basin gets too full, then it won't overflow because the overflow drain will drain away the excess, keeping the basin level.
Our bodies should have an overflow drainage system too, it's called DAO, it's an enzyme that helps to remove histamine from the body. For those of us who have histamine intolerance, chances are our overflow drain (DAO) isn't functioning correctly, or it's missing completely. This means that when our histamine levels get too high, there's no overflow pipe to drain away the excess histamine and our basin just overflows all over the place resulting in itching, hives, rashes, runny nose, sore throat or even stomach ache and IBS!
The key is to keep the basin from overflowing. That is why fasting has helped me, by putting food in less frequently, I've given my body time to deal with the histamine it already has. It's as if my basin has a drain block and it's draining super slowly. I can't put anything else in until some of what's already in there drains out.
Please Note: This page contains affiliate links. I will earn a small reward from qualifying purchases made through product links (at no cost to you). These rewards add up over time and will eventually translate to a voucher I can use on a future order, so I am very grateful for your support! Click here for details.
My Action Plan
I asked many questions and read many testimonies online and came up with an action plan for myself:
- Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride), three times a day (upon waking, 6pm, then before bed) and Ranitidine (Ranitidine Hydrochloride), before eating.
- Fast for at least 16 hours a day. One meal mid day and then a small snack later, if hungry and not flaring.
- Supplements I take daily: 2000-3000mg of vitamin C, 4000mg of MSM, 5000IU of D3 and Quercitin powder with all my meals.
- Magnesium flakes or epsom salt in the bath.
- Drink lots of water with electrolytes: pink salt or celtic salt, LoSalt for potassium and magnesium. (salt is natural antihistamine, not table salt)
- Eat not only low histamine foods, but also reintroduce anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory foods to equip the body to handle the inflammation and histamine already in my system.
- Eat no processed, aged, fermented, tinned or pickled food.
- Eat only fresh food cooked from scratch. Leftovers are frozen after dinner and eaten immediately after reheating.
- Avoid other common allergens like dairy, grains, nuts, eggs, etc. And inflammatory foods like sugar.
Some of the anti-histamine or anti-inflammatory foods I make sure to include daily:
- Golden milk, once or twice a day (fresh ginger, tumeric, cinnamon, coconut milk, hot water, coconut oil)
- Fresh thyme in all my meals
- Some apple or sweet potato
- Fresh garlic
- Olive oil in all my meals
- Coconut oil on my skin
For Immediate Relief During A Histamine Reaction:
Here are some things that have helped me during a histamine reaction. I usually start burning and itching all over, it stings quite a bit and my joints get red and swollen and very hot. Heat aggravates it, so you'll need to cool down the affected areas quickly.
- Lie in a cold bath or lay cold wet towels on the itching skin (avoid warm or hot baths/showers)
- I moisturise with coconut oil (test on a small area first)
- Use ice packs for swelling and burning up of the joints
- Drink lots of water, add salt
- Take Antihistamine (I prefer Atarax at this point) and Vitamin C
- Do something relaxing and distracting like watch a calm movie, stress or excitement can trigger histamine release, so you need to stay as calm as possible.
Something else you might want to try is Three Tulsi Holy Basil Tea, I found many people recommending it online, I didn't notice any improvements from it personally, but it's worth a shot if you'd like a hot drink and everything else is a trigger. I had a bad reaction from Chamomile and Rooibos wasn't great either. My histamine release was triggered by heat, so that could have something to do with why I couldn't tolerate hot drinks.
We are all unique, so you will have to rely on trial and error to find which things your body really doesn't like and which items it doesn't react badly to. I hope my list is a helpful starting point for you. I know I was so lost when I first realised what was happening. It is not easy to find all the necessary information and my doctors were not much help either.
Some useful links:
- Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI)
- They have a great list of histamine levels in foods which you can get from their downloads section.
- Healing Histamine
- This site is full of information and recipes
- Histamine Intolerance Awareness
You might also want to look into Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD). Unfortunately this is another condition which is not well understood and quite tricky to manage. There are support groups on Facebook where you will find others who understand. You can share your experience and learn management tips.
Have you experienced anything like this?
- How did you manage it?
- Do you have any tips or tricks that could be helpful to somebody dealing with such allergic reactions?
- I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a message in the comments below or contact me privately.
So, How's My Diet Going Now?
I frequently get messages asking me for updates on my diet, whether it's my Keto journey or my Low Histamine journey. So this is where I will periodically share a short update and you can see how this way of eating is affecting me over time.
For context: I fell ill with ME/CFS in 2015 and became housebound. I started Keto in early 2017 as a way to reduce my symptoms, by the end of the year I had developed severe Histamine Intolerance issues, so I adjusted my diet to Low Histamine Keto. Here are my updates since then:
Update - December 2017
Histamine Intolerance: My itching and hives are under control now. I got rid of the hives by fasting for 24hours a day for three days straight. This means that every 24 hours I'd have a 1hour window in which I would eat my meals according to this plan of action. Within 3 days the hives were gone. I continued for almost 2 weeks eating once a day only. Please keep in mind that I am on the ketogenic diet, which keeps me satiated, drinking a lot of water and electrolytes helps too.
After the initial 2 weeks, I started reintroducing a second meal, more of a high fat and protein snack in the evenings, so my fasting window reduced from 24 hours to 16. I did this for most of October, after which my itching had completely gone away and I could start reintroducing some foods again. In small quantities.
My itch has only returned, very mildly, since we switched our winter heating on in the house about a week ago. Heat is a trigger for my histamine response, but cold is bad for my chronic pain and muscle shakes caused by ME/CFS, so I'll put up with the slight itch and adjust my meals accordingly to keep it under control.
Update - August 2019
Low Histamine Keto: There were only a few itchy episodes in the winter of 2017. The whole of 2018 was incident free, except when I ate spinach which seems to give me an instant reaction almost every time I eat it.
2019 has been almost completely incident free too, except two reactions which I later realised were caused by a peanut flavoured protein shake I was having for lunch. I rotate through a variety of flavours and only had reactions on the peanut flavour days. Since stopping that shake, I have not had any more reactions.
I continue to eat a low histamine diet most of the time, but am able to enjoy a couple of high histamine foods daily in small doses. I also continue to use quercitin powder sprinkled on one meal a day and at least one serving of olive oil a day. I also still take the salt drinks as supplementing electrolytes is important for Keto too.
Update - 2020 to Present Day
Keto And Histamine Intolerance: I'm still on the ketogenic diet, but have been able to reintroduce many high histamine foods on a regular basis, including spinach and even the occasional treat including peanuts - all without any reactions. I still take antihistamines, salty cocktails and olive oil daily.
During pollen season I do have to be more careful with the amount of high histamine foods I eat as my levels are already higher at that time of the year and reactions are easily triggered if not careful. The rest of the year I can be relatively carefree about histamine levels.
My ME/CFS has not continued to improve with the keto diet, I'd say it's probably reached a plateau, but it absolutely gets worse when I go out of ketosis on my rare cheat days. So I maintain this way of eating to have a better quality of life.
Let's Stay In Touch
Housebound Lifestyle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
M.E. Awareness: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | The ME/CFS Community
Vibrant Hope Art: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Support My Work: Buy My Art | Shop My Favourite Things
Or if you'd like to send me something, here's my Amazon Wishlist - Thank you!
This blog was designed using Thrive Themes.
Oh my gosh that’s an awful journey! I’m glad you were able to find the cause and begin to treat it. I got itchy after showers, like insanely itchy, but now I take cooler, quick showers and it helps. I eat only meat, fruit, veggies and nuts and have since ’13 (helps my fibro). The itching came about last year. Thankfully the cooler water seems to help. Hoping you can find a good balance. You’re so strong I think I would have just freaked out. Although the year I was diagnosed with fibro I had inexplicable hives. These bodies just kinda do what they want don’t they.??
So true! Our bodies just seem to do whatever. Just last night I realised that there are really quite a few symptoms that many of us get which just don’t appear on the symptom lists you find online. Quite bizarre things too!
Support groups are great for this though, you realise “oh good! I’m not a freak, they all have the same problem too!” Although it’s not nice that others suffer the same issues, it is comforting to know we are not alone in it and others understand. x
Very, very true! Social media has set my mind at ease innumerable times with regard to odd symptoms.???
So basically what u mean is fasting has been a major role to get rid of hives ?
Im suffering from last September 2019 almost 1 year ! Every day i take anti histhamine tablets i cant see any dfrnce !
Will try fasting as well now !
Planning now for homeopathy treatment!
It was for me, but everybody is different. I have heard from some that it made things worse, but it’s worth a shot if it could help so I took the risk and it worked for me. I hope you find a solution soon.
I am forever appreciative and grateful to you — for sharing your ordeal in detail, the knowledge you have gained along the way, and how you have progressed. Your symptoms and ailments COMPLETELY mirror mine, and I haven’t been able to figure it out. Ive been battling this all too debilitating “condition” since I can remember, have been misdiagnosed year after year, and led down dead-end roads each and every time. Couldn’t understand for the life of me why NO ONE could help me or put this together – it’s been endless docs, allergists, Dermatologists, creams, steroids etc. Recently with the more pronounced heat/sweat reactions I’ve been led down the road of auto-immune specialists, a rheumatologist, etc….nothing. It has been a debilitating, torturous and all consuming battle, and you have changed that for me – simply by selflessly sharing. Specific/detailed information is soo limited on this, and yours is the only one that has FINALLY validated/pieced it all together. THANK YOU
Wow, I am so sorry you have been struggling to find help for so long!
It really is so hard to find information on this. I am glad you have found my story helpful. I hope you have been able to relieve your responses. I’d love to know how you are getting on.
Wishing you much relief and healing. Hugs
The hives’ progression looks super awful!! I get random hives outbreak as well, but usually easily controlled with anti-histamines (I have 4-5 different types at home, depending on situation!). Will re-share this handy guide everywhere!
Thanks Sheryl! It was my first time experiencing this last year… 7 months of itching before somebody mentioned this, so I hope to help people before they have to suffer so long. I usually only get seasonal allergies, this was a whole other thing, the usual antihistamines were not touching it. It’s almost 9 months later and I’m still eating low histamine meals, but I can now include some cheaky high histamine items a couple of times a week, spread out, without much reaction if any.
Hi I was on keto and also developed a reaction and now is been 8 months with this torment, i decided to do sort of semi vegetarian paleo instead, do you think I could do same fast like you, every 24 hours or should I start slow? I’m taking Zyrtec and Benadryl in between, I don’t have insurance.
Hi Ruthy, I’m so sorry you are dealing with this too. It is so frustrating! I would try fasting, maybe start with a 12 hour fast overnight (skip dinner or breakfast) and see how that goes for you. Then 16-18 hours. Then 24 if you can manage it. Make sure to hydrate very well between, add electrolytes to your water so that you don’t feel faint. You could take a few adrenal cocktails throughout the day between glasses of water. If your reactions are triggered or flare up from eating then the fasting should lower your histamine load. I hope you find relief soon.
Great article on Histamine. I have a question for you in which the answer will determine whether I pursue histamine help. So 3 months ago I began coughing up mucous in the mornings, major nasal congestion, sore throat, red cheeks with a bit of red rash on bridge of the nose, deep inhale pain upper chest/lower throat area. Have had COVID negative test, ultrasound, x-ray, and CT amongst others all negative. My diet is primarily paleo based. So, the funny thing is it doesn’t seem to matter if I eat at all, for example I wake up today and don’t have any food, outside of the normal coughing up phlegm, my nose id completely clogged and my airways congested, nasal breathing is good when sleeping but chest congestion gets worse when upright it is the opposite. So the question I have on Histamine is could my symptoms be a histamine issue due to the fact that they are still there even after not eating for 16 -20 hours, in other words, food doesn’t trigger,m they are just always there! I am believing I have this narrowed down to histamine and/or silent reflux. Thanx! DarrenHello
Hi Darren, I cannot say if what you have is histamine or not, but yes, histamine is not only triggered or released in response to food, so you can have histamine build up for any number of reasons. Seasonal allergies, chemical intolerances, allergies to cleaning products, mold sensitivity, etc. It is a possibility. Look into Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Disorder/Syndrome (MCAD/MCAS) for more information on this and to see if it resonates with what you’re experiencing. I hope you find your answers soon.
I have had the same as you for around 17 years. I’ve been to doctors and dermatologists and had have to transferred to specialists in London but none could ever find the problem. I have been eliminating food and drink for years trying to find the root cause myself. I eventually, after years of horrendous skin issues, think it is down to histamine intolerance. I would suggest to anyone who has the same issue to consume a low histamine diet. I would also totally suggest taking an antihistamine pill everyday. Also a multivitamin and importantly a separate vitamin pill of magnesium and B6. The antihistamine will obviously lower histamine, the multivitamins will help in general especially with vitamin C and the magnesium and B6 helps production of the DOA enzyme which combats the amount of antihistamine in your body. These simple vitamins have changed life so much and I’m happy again after years and years of being depressed with my skin. I hope anyone reading this has the same results.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so glad you have had some relief, that is a very long time to go without answers. I am taking the same things you mentioned, except B6 but mine is under control now so I think I’m okay in that regard. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure it will help others.
Thank you so very much for all of this information! I was awake last night with itching/rash again. Mine sounds just like your episodes. I’ve started implementing some of your recommendations. Im see improvement already. Many thanks!!!
Thank you so much for letting me know how it’s working for you. I am so glad that these tips have been helpful. I hope you manage to get the reactions under control too.
Wow this is great information. This happened to me when I did low carb around 2014. I figured my cashew allergy was spreading and have been avoiding all tree nuts since then although the only thing that ever worked was ranitidine, which an allergist had told me to use.
Now, (40lbs later) I’m trying Keto again and was dismayed to see it was taken off the market. Despite me taking Famotidine my hives are continuing to get worse. I came across your website and plan to ask my Dr for a prescription. This is miserable but no other way of eating has ever helped me to lose weight.
Hi Diana, I am sorry that you are dealing with this histamine issue too. It really is frustrating, but there are ways to manage it by keeping your histamine levels low as I described in this post. I know everybody is different and what worked for me might not necessarily work for you, but I hope you find a solution. It has been a long time now since I have had histamine reactions. Usually only in the high pollen season when general histamine levels are higher, but even then it will be one or two reactions – like a reminder to watch my histamine intake – and then I revert back to my action plan until the pollen season is over. I know what you mean about keto – it is so much easier to manage weight on this way of eating! All the best, I hope you find your solution soon.
This same thing has happened to me after starting keto. I also developed chronic yeast infections. I cannot spend the rest of my life this way. I think I have healed the yeast, it was caused by antibiotics in meat and dairy, but I can’t eat bananas, avocados, mangoes, tomatoes, and something that I haven’t figured out yet has been causing my throat to itch at night.
Hi Steph, thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds awful to have to give up meat and dairy because of a sensitivity to the antibiotics given to the animals. I’ve never heard of this before. I’m glad you’ve found a way to heal the yeast infections and identify your other triggers. It helps so much to improve our quality of life when we know what we are dealing with. I hope you figure out your itchy throat trigger soon too. All the best.
I relate to this so much unfortunately. I’ve had flare ups in the past, I think, but didn’t know what it was. Last one was in 2019 spring and summer. This flare up started end of 2020. At night, my legs look EXACTLY like yours right now. I’ve only had the noticeable hives for a couple of weeks. I can go all day and not itch at all. When I sit down to relax in the evening or lay down for bed, I become so itchy for about an hour. I sleep pretty deeply for 3 or 4 hours and wake up itching so terribly. I go through another itchy hour, and then will sleep really deeply for 3 or 4 hours. I wake up slightly itchy in the mornings. Interestingly enough, TMI sorry, I will get super itchy right before a bowel movement (usually in morning) and be fine shortly after. I already fast 16-20 hours every day but need to adjust my diet. It seems all my replacement foods are probably making things worse for me. Fasting, I’m sure, won’t make up for my high histamine diet. Thank you for sharing your journey! Gives me hope and helps me to not feel alone.
Hi Abby, thank you so much for sharing your experience. What you write sounds so familiar. You are definitely not alone! And as for the bowel movements, this is a common trigger, I believe bowel movements, and even digestion, release histamine as do some other bodily functions, so when our histamine load is already high and these functions occur, we get a little flare up as an extra dose of histamine is released. These are things that happen naturally in all humans, but for us who are intolerant or sensitive to histamine it can be quite uncomfortable and visible in the form of rashes and hives too. Mine was also worse in the evenings and mornings. I hope a change in your diet has helped and you have found some relief. Please do keep us updated on your progress and how you’re managing it. I get so many messages from people struggling with this. The more we share our experiences, the more people we can put at ease and help. I have just got a new laptop to replace my old one that died some time ago, so I can finally get back to updating the blog and sharing more low histamine recipes and information, so please do come back occasionally or subscribe, so you are notified of any future updates. All the best.
In reading your story and seeing that you were only getting hives in your bath try eliminating the magnesium flakes. You can be allergic to the magnesium. Not allergic but you may be sensitive to it. It causes me to get hives
Hi Jess, I’ll check my wording again, but I wasn’t getting hives in my bath. The bath only gave the mild red patches on my skin, see belly pic, the hives were from eating and drinking and heat from clothing, bedding, sunshine, central heating, etc… They were almost permanent at one point, it was awful. Thanks for the tip though, it might help others who read the post and comments.
I have had this condition under control, using the methods I described in the post, since writing this in 2017. I’ve only had the very rare reaction since switching to a low histamine diet and being aware of an avoiding my triggers as much as possible, especially during pollen season when my histamine levels are generally higher.
I feel for you. I have histamine hive reactions periodically without any other health issues, so having them with other things going on must be really awful. THANK YOU so much for this specific and helpful info. This is some of the most helpful info I have found so far looking for what to do for my current bad histamine outbreak. I’ve never had it this bad; your experiences and willingness to share feel very comforting and validating in addition to being so informative. Wishing you the best and thanks again.
Hi Dot, Thank you so much for your encouraging message. I am glad you have found my story helpful and comforting. I know it is not easy to find information about this online, so I’m glad it could help somebody. I hope you will have relief soon.
Hello, I came across your site and I was wondering if I might have a “form” of what you have experienced. My skin will start feeling itchy in random areas and as soon as I scratch, it gets instantly red, feels warm, and I can sometimes see what appears to be hives or “raised areas”. I try not to scratch because if I start, its hard to stop. I have been loosely following the histamine diet because if I take an over the counter antihistamine, it does stop, but it always is worse at night when I get ready to go to bed. Should I start with fasting and pursue the histamine diet fully? I would appreciate any input you might have. Thank you.
Hi Teresa, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this too. It sounds like it might be a histamine issue, especially if antihistamines are helping you. The low histamine diet doesn’t necessarily have to be a permanent lifestyle change. If you do it fully for a period of time you could empty your “histamine bucket” and be able to slowly resume eating your regular diet again with little to no reactions. Or maybe do as I have been doing, eating mostly low histamine foods and only enjoying the high histamine foods in small quantities every other day. If it were me, I’d do the low histamine diet fully for a month or two and then try something high histamine like spinach, avocado or tinned food to see if you get any reactions. I feel like it’s worth the effort if it could solve your itching. I hope it helps you too.
My husband takes Xymogen’s “HistDAO” supps for his dermatographia. And Ortho Molecular’s “Natural D-Hist”. Great results.
Thank you so much for sharing his experience, I’ll look into these. I’m sure this could be helpful to others too.
Just a message to say that hives can sometimes present itself for a period of time and be very, very aggressive … But eventually goes away. I went on antihistamines for a period of 6 months, which didn’t work at all. I also did multiple blood tests to find out what it was, thas was causing my allergic reaction , but nothing was found. I had hives the entire day, for six months, and it was extremely itchy. I thought it would never go away. I eventually went off the antihistamines and the symptoms slowly subsided. I do get a rash now and again, but only for a few minutes in the day. I’m so grateful for my healing. I hope this brings reassurance to those who had a similar experience.
Thank you for sharing your story and encouragement, Geneveve. Much appreciated. I’m glad you have found a solution that works for you.
Most notably, my rash started after I had contracted covid-19… Many people have had similar experiences however not much research has been done on it since the virus is fairly new. Doctors have noted however that hives have been a manifestation of covid in some patients, however is more pronounced in individuals who have what they call ‘long covid’ .
Some people went on a strong course of prednisone and it worked, however it didn’t work for me.
In 2020 I was diagnosed with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, which is basically getting hives everyday and the doctors don’t know why. Since then I have been getting monthly Xolair shots and this has kept the hives at bay. I still itch depending on what I eat (I don’t have the willpower to cut out all histamine producing foods, tried it for 30 days and thought I was going to go nuts even though I didn’t have hives). The occasional break through comes during the month. I still take an anti-histamine pill everyday along with the prescription Monulukast. I wish I had the will power to stop eating the high histamine foods however I love food too much and as long as the shots are helping I will keep getting them.
It’s so hard to give up all the high histamine foods, the safe food list can become very short indeed. But it’s not necessarily forever. If you can manage it long enough your body will likely heal to the point where you can start reintroducing them. But the problem is we each have a different system and will take differing amounts of time to heal. I only needed to be super strict for one or two months I think. After that I’ve been able to reintroduce high histamine foods without reactions. But during the allergy seasons I do have to be careful about my histamine intake as reactions are possible. I hope you find a sustainable solution that works for you.
Been going through awful histamine intolerance for the past year, with rapid healing over the past few months! Had awful hives/patches/oozing/rash that started on my feet then spread to calves/thighs/elbows/forarms/hands/sides/ears . . but I’m about 90-95% completely clear skinned now!
I found that cutting out ground beef, eggs, dairy, certain fruits provided a drastic improvement. Currently eating: well cooked and soft white rice, frozen wild caught salmon (baked upon thawing), pasture raised chicken (dark meat is more satisfying for the fat content but white meat too), steak maybe once a week but only from grassfed sources that freeze at slaughter (i use butcher box), organic frozen blueberries and a lot of organic apples. Still trying to figure out what kind of oils/fats I can use, I’m still determining if beef tallow or ghee work, but appears to make me itchy (one of the last things I’m working to identify as a potential trigger.
Can’t do bananas/melons/grapes/alcohol/eggs/nuts conventional beef people, got to stick to low histamine and get the inflammation under control.
Also very important, I ended up working with a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICIONER. I can’t stress how important doing so was in helping me make progress. I’ve been to many GP’s, dermatologists and they actually made things worse by inappropriately prescribing me steroid creams (very strong one) and a lot of antibiotics thinking it was a bacterial infection. This only damaged my gut and made my digestion worse. . .
But working with a functional medicine doc helped me learn to get some helpful testing. I did a hair mineral analysis and many blood tests as well as stool. I also discovered I had some small gallstones and sludge in my gallbladder from an abodominal ultrasound.
One main cause of histamine issues is your Zinc/Copper balance. In my case mine was High zinc/ and copper on low end, creating an imbalance. Copper is one of the main players in things related to your histamine response! In the past I supplemented with Zinc and did for a long time, this is one of the most common causes of the imbalance because zinc and copper compete for absorption. Get your levels tested because this is one of the biggest things that helped me as well as identifying the foods that trigger. I am now raising my copper status with beef liver capsules from ancestral supplements on amazon (im not affiliated with them) and hoping to retest my zn/cp levels after a couple months. Also am treating my gallstones/sludge with some ox bile recommended by my Func. med doc because the importance of healthy gallbladder/liver and other digestive organs is massive for digesting your foods and helping food intolerances/histamine. Would also recommend doing an iron panel and checking your ferritin, if it’s high then donate blood and monitor it. I find through my research anything over 90 ferritin is too high, (see Morly Robbins information on high iron)
So in a nutshell what helped me was:
1 – identify and remove all food intolerances, this took me a long time but you can save time by doing an elimination diet with low histamine foods. Keep it very simple and journal your symptoms daily for reference.
2 – Check for Zinc/copper imbalance, gut infections (candida, etc),
3 – focus on your digestive system and look into any kinks upstream (gallbladder, fatty liver, etc) . .
Hope this helps someone!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s so helpful to hear how others are finding improvement.